UPDATE (Dec. 22, 1:30 p.m.) -- The 49ers made it official Saturday, signing linebacker Cam Johnson to a two-year contract and promoting him from the practice squad to the active roster to fill the team's roster vacancy.
SANTA CLARA -- Rookie Cam Johnson, a seventh-round draft pick who missed most of the 49ers' offseason program after undergoing knee surgery, will be promoted to the 49ers' 53-man roster, coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday afternoon.
Johnson could be active for the 49ers' game Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks as veteran backup Clark Haggans is not expected to play due to a shoulder injury. Journeyman Eric Bakhtiari will be the 49ers' top backup at outside linebacker behind starters Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks.
Johnson (6-foot-3, 258 pounds) was a seventh-round pick (No. 237 overall) out of Virginia. He was named third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference after his senior season. He playd 42 games at Virginia with 34 starts. He recorded 12.5 career sacks.
Haggans and 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith (left elbow) are two players the 49ers originally listed as doubtful for Sunday's game. If Smith is unable to play, second-year nose tackle Ian Williams would be expected to get he call to suit up for the first time this season. Ricky Jean Francois would start, with Will Tukuafu and Williams available as backups.
Last week, the 49ers went more than a week with one vacancy on their 53-man roster after suspending running back Brandon Jacobs for the final three games of the regular season. The 49ers released practice-squad receiver Chad Hall because of an obscure NFL rule that states a team must fill promote a third-year practice squad player to the 53-man roster if they have a vacancy.
Last week, the 49ers released Hall before the weekend to get around that rule. They re-signed him on Monday. After all, there was no reason to activate a player from the practice squad to the 53-man roster if he is not going to suit up for the game. Such a move would cost the team an unnecessary $17,200 weekly in salary and cap space.
PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.
Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.
"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.
Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.
After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.
The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.
With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.
Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88.
Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.
A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.
Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.
Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014.
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